Action Replay + Gratitude List: February 2020

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The shortest month did live up to its name, in-spite of it being a leap year. Seriously, how fast is time going? February was a pretty relaxed month and it was uneventful for me. Things just went on as usual. Work was lean and it game me quite some time for myself. Also, I'm not someone who does not like to be busy. Not having much to do at the workplace added to my lethargy and it was not going down well on me. I have really good friends at the workplace and they keep me going, but not being that productive takes a toll on me. I've come to realize that it is a double edged sword for me. To keep myself engaged at the workplace, I decided to give Audible a shot. It worked like a charm. I was never the one who would go for an audio book. It took me quite some time to get used to a Kindle in the first place, so audio books were too far-fetched. But when I gave it a shot, I was hooked.

When it comes to maintaining balance, I was supposed to focus on fitness and art this month. Fitness was pretty decent, although not regular. My sleep cycle is still all over the place and I cannot commit myself to a fixed fitness regimen yet. I attended classes when I got some decent sleep the previous night. The app says that I'm still better than 61% of people, so that's a consolation I guess. While I couldn't do much at the art front, I managed to make two dresses for myself though. Anything creative is art right?

Reading was great in February and I ended up reading eight books. Three of them were short reads though. I read a diverse of genres this month too and came across a book that made it to the top three of my all time favorites. The books that I read in February were:

~ The Restaurant of Love Regained by Ito Ogawa.

I love books that revolve around the concept of food and I was pretty excited to read this one. It started off brilliantly with the focus being on food and fresh produce. The descriptions were vivid and realistic and one could almost smell the aromas. Towards the end of the story, it all went downhill. It got too cliched and predictable and the entire buildup fell flat on its face. This one got a 3 star rating from me.

~ The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister.

This was the pick from Reese's book club for February. This is a story that is one of a kind. Everything about it was so heart-warming. This one got a full 5 stars from me.

~ The Gift Of The Magi by O'Henry.

I'm a huge fan of O'Henry's short tales. His stories have so much soul in them and this one was no less. A really short story that focuses on love instead of materialistic pleasures. This was a 4 star read for me.

~ Dearest George by Alicia Souza.

Another short book, this one was an adorable read. Since most of the illustrations in the book had already appeared on her Instagram page, most people did not find anything new in it. For me, everything about it was cute, warm and fuzzy. As a lover of love, this one worked for me. Another 5 star one this.

~ The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.

This was the book that I chose to be my first ever read on Audible. What a book this turned out to be! The narration is haunting and the voice over was so brilliant. This book gave me nightmares for a couple of days. This book made it to my top three favorites of all time. Without a doubt, it got 5 stars from me. I'd give it 500 stars if I could.

~ The Princess and the Pea: A Very Short Tale by Diane Setterfield.

Once I finished The Thirteenth Tale, I wanted to read more work by this author and I came across this really short story. A rewriting of the classic, 'The Princess and the Pea', I did not enjoy this one. The approach is different, sneaky even, but the story was way too short, far-fetched and incomplete. 3 stars.

~ 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak.

This one was a dreamy read. Elif Shafak has a unique way with words that totally consume you and then drown you. This one was no less. This story celebrates Istanbul in all its bright and dark glory. The predictable set-up ruined the story only a tad bit. This one got 4 stars from me. This was my choice for the prompt 10 of the #TBRChallenge2020 - A free hit.

~ The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.

I'd heard mixed reviews of this book, mostly bad. As someone who loves this genre, I wanted to read it for myself and honestly, I quite enjoyed this one. 4 stars. This was my choice for the prompt 14 of the #TBRChallenge2020 - A WWI or WWII drama.

This was my reading for February. Follow me on Goodreads or my bookstagram page to follow my reading journey.

Writing was good this February as well. I finally wrote poetry after ages, celebrating love! I also wrote a post that is very close to my heart. It was something that I needed to get out of my system. Book reviews and blog hops added to the number of posts too and overall I'm satisfied with the writing for this month.

The short month that just whooshed by did come with its share of gratitude:

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~ Work: There wasn't must in my kitty this time, so it gave me time to do the things I love.

~ Health: Apart from my recurring sleep issues, health held up good.

~ Celebration: This was our ninth Valentine's day together and we spent the evening reminiscing about our early years of courtship.

~ Movies & TV Shows: We watched 'Parasite' and did not understand the hype around it. It is a decent movie, but nothing great. We found it to be unnecessarily dark and complex. 'Thappad' was a great watch and should be made a must watch for everyone. While the story was already good, it is the acting from the entire cast that takes the cake, cherry and all. We finished watching 'BoJack Horseman' and 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel'. While we're looking forward to the next season of 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel', 'BoJack Horseman' ended leaving us with a heavy heart. That is a brilliant show on life, relationships and everything else in general. We were vested in its characters. I started watching 'How to get away with murder' recently and I'm in love with Viola Davis. She's badass! It is time for us to get started on the latest season of Narcos now.

~ Friends: I met up with my girls and had a wonderful time! We have known each other for close to two decades now and it almost seems unrealistic. We're aging together and that makes us emotional while bringing a smile to the face. I also met Shailaja and it was awesome as usual. When we talk, there is no filter, no doubt. The right friends bring so much joy in your life.

~ Books: Having a book page and being a part of a book club has given me access and information about so many books that I would never would have heard of else. Books for me are like magic!

~ Love: Life is easy when you have the right partner by your side. Even if it is not easy, it makes it worthwhile. Enough said.

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That was all about my February. March will see me getting busy with work, travelling (all depends on the Corona situation) and hopefully trying to find a balance in a lot many things.

How was your February?

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Linking this post to Vidya's Gratitude Circle for this month.

10 comments:

  1. Love reading these action replays. They feel so much like a personal catch up. :)

    I had an eventful February on most fronts, but the reading slowed down to only 4 books. As that was the plan for this year, I am good with it.

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    1. Thank you, Shantala.

      I'm glad your reading is according to the plan :)

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  2. Loved reading your short reviews of the books. I would definitely pick up The Thirteenth. Just the kind of book I would prefer. How can you not show the dresses you made! I wannaa seee. I remember the fabulous top that you had stiched before. I have heard so much about Mrs Maisel, but it's not here on Netflix. Sigh! Hope you get some good sleep this month.

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    1. Thank you, Raj! I'll put up the pictures sometime soon :)

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  3. You made dresses for yourself? Wow!! That is certainly super creative my friend! I have Elif Shafk’s book on my TBR - she’s a wonderful writer!

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    1. Thank you, Jini. Elif Shafak is simply amazing.

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  4. Loved reading about your month. And sorry that your trip got cancelled but it's better that way. Met L today morning and it was good to see him. Wish you had come too :)
    8 books is amazing Soumya. I read Gift of Magi in school and have been a fan of O'Henry too. I too liked The Tattooist of Auschwitz. I like the genre too so this was good read.
    My month was good but blogging has taken a backseat. I need to do better.
    Wishing you a good and healthy March, Soumya. And yes - for sleep try to tire yourself out ;) Works for me!

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    1. It is better I know, but I so wish we could have gone :)

      The amount of work I do a day, I should sleep for two weeks flat :P

      Doesn't help. My sleep cycle is messed up and I will be seeking medical help soon. That's why I have been missing classes.

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  5. I am envious that you can stitch dresses!!! And yes thats arty enough- please show pics. Better still wear and model them please!!

    I loved this chatty version of your gratitude post- good to hear you have had a great Feb; it felt like this has been your best month in a while.

    Your reading spree has been awesome and I am so glad you like Diane Setterfield; following your advice for Audible and checking this one out. I am also on a look out for more of her books- hopefully will find them soonest.

    For your sleep cycle, try doing Bhramari pranayam- google it or better still I will send a link.

    Here's wishing you an awesome March Soumzie XOXO

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  6. Looks like a pretty balanced month to me. Sometimes it is good to have some down time at work. How are you coping with the work from home arrangement now that we're in a lock down? Good to see all the books you read. Books are indeed magic. Take care of that sleep thing. Now please show me those dresses you made! Look after yourself, Soumya!

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